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We both really enjoy roast chicken so when Heston Blumenthal's latest TV series (How to Cook like Heston) covered chicken in last week's episode, we had to see it. He presented a novel way of cooking a chicken which began with an overnight soak in brine, in a similar manner to cooking a ham. The actual cooking was done at a very low temperature (gas mark ¼) instead of the usual gas mark 6.
We didn't plan our chicken roasting in advance and hadn't done the brining, so today I just did my normal roast chicken recipe. The only real similarity with Heston's is that we both remove the string which trusses the chicken so the heat can get to the legs and side of the breast better. I filled the cavity with a few cloves of garlic and a sprig each of thyme and rosemary to give a bit of extra flavour to the meat. I rubbed vegetable oil on the skin and sprinkled some stock granules all over.
We have a roasting tray with a rack inside and a lid, so I put about half a centimetre of water in the bottom of the tray, sat the chicken on the rack, put the lid on top and put the chicken in the middle of the oven at gas mark 6 for an hour. The water will create plenty of steam which will keep the meat moist while it cooks.
After the hour was over, I removed the lid and let the chicken carry on cooking for just under an hour to let the skin go crispy. The end result was a well-cooked tender chicken with thin crispy (and tasty) skin. The juices which collected in the bottom of the tray, along with the herbs and garlic, will be used later on when I make a chicken stock.
The chicken legs and wings (along with some of the crispy skin) are going to be blitzed with some mayonnaise and a sprinkle of salt to make a sandwich spread for tomorrow's lunch.